Chapter Four: An Unexpected Interloper
It hadn't been easy but Mara Jade had managed to sneak on board the Executor (posing as one of the ship's crew) when it had stopped for refueling. Now she was waiting for an opportunity to enter Vader's quarters, her master suspected that his apprentice was up to something and had sent her to investigate. Mara hoped that she would be able to use this as a way to prove to her master that she deserved Vader's current position.
While the Executor was on its' way to Korrinth, purely by chance the imperial flagship encountered a small rebel detachment. Vader and the crew were not about to let the rebels go simply because they had not intended to find them, and so the ship attacked.
Mara Jade decided to use the battle as an opportunity to search Vader's private quarters, surely there would be a clue of some kind in there. Her master had told her about the dog but she wasn't concerned, how much trouble could one dumb dog be?
She used the force to open the locked door and saw to her surprise that the light in Vader's study was on. That was weird, usually people turned off the lights when they left. The simplest explanation was the Vader had just forgotten to turn it off when he headed to the bridge but a stirring in the Force told Mara that wasn't it.
She crept closer and barely managed to suppress a gasp when she saw a scruffy looking, oddly dressed man sitting at the desk filling out paperwork.
Sirius sighed "that's enough for now…I need a drink." He got up and began heading straight for Mara.
Quickly she used the Force to enhance her speed so she was able to hide somewhere. This was interesting but she needed a lot more before she reported anything to her master, hopefully if she observed she would be able to learn something
Sirius walked over to the fridge and had just put his hand on the handle when he got the feeling that someone was watching him
He took his hand away from the door and drew his wand.
Mara nearly laughed, really what did this guy think he was going to do with a small wooden stick, it wasn't even big enough to use as a club.
Mara realized that a confrontation was inevitable and she then committed the cardinal sin of conflict, she underestimated her opponent. She assumed that since she couldn't feel the guy's force signature and that he was armed with nothing but a wooden stick, she could easily defeat him.
Mara lit her light saber and stepped out of her hiding place.
"You have some explaining to do." She said
"No I don't" Sirius responded "you do. Incarcerous!'
Ropes appeared out of nowhere and tried to wrap around Mara but she used force speed and her light saber to cut them before they got a good hold on her
She then raised her hand and used the force to push him against the wall.
Although Sirius was flattened he was still able to use his wand
Mara used her light saber to deflect the stunning spell (well Mara didn't know it was a stunning spell, to her it was just a red beam of light that looked like a stun beam) in the process she wound up dropping Sirius so he was (just barely) able to dodge it.
For a brief time it continued like that, Sirius shot several different spells at Mara and she managed to deflect them but Sirius was so fast that she never had an opening to get off an attack of her own. She tried to get in close to Sirius so she could use her light saber and go on the offensive but he kept moving so she was not able to close the gap.
Eventually Mara wound up in front of the window Sirius fired two stunning spells in rapid succession. Mara deflected the first but the second hit the window, the window was made out of a special very strong glass that was designed to be capable of withstanding powerful laser blasts from space ships so Sirius' stunner was not even powerful enough to scratch it much less do substantial damage to it. However on the interior side the window was slightly reflective. As result (just as Sirius had been hoping) the spell reflected off the window and hit Mara right in the back stunning her.
Now that he had finally defeated the unnamed intruder, he decided he had better get Vader. He transformed into Padfoot and used his paw to press the switch to open the door.
Padfoot used his nose to follow Vader's scent to the bridge; he wasn't worried about being spotted by the crew. The crew had heard his barking when the hag man had called earlier so they knew that Vader had a dog onboard. If it was hypocritical that Vader had a dog while none of the crew were allowed to have pets on board no one dared to say anything…at least now while Lord Vader was anywhere around.
By the time Sirius found Vader the battle was pretty much over, the rebels were mostly killed with only one x-wing pilot having been captured alive. Vader was just about to head to the holding cell for the interrogation when Sirius showed up and sat down in front of him
Admiral Piett (who Vader had just finished giving orders to) couldn't help but notice how remarkably well trained his superior's dog seemed to be…of course he wouldn't expect anything less from Lord Vader.
"What is it Sirius?" Vader asked telepathically
"Some woman with a glowing stick" Sirius responded(Sirius still didn't know what a light saber was) "broke into your quarters, I stunned her but she definitely knows I am not some average Joe"
"That glowing stick was a light saber which means that your intruder was likely one of the emperor's hands" Vader said, in theory it could be a rogue Jedi but the chances of that happening were slim to none.
Immediately Vader decided to change course instead of heading down to the holding cell he would go to his quarters and deal with this unwanted spy. It was doubtful that the pilot knew anything useful and besides all his crew were the empire's best in their respective classifications (pilot, tech etc.) and the empire's best interrogators were fully capable of doing their jobs properly without him holding their hands…in theory.
Vader walked to his quarters with Sirius playing the role of the loyal dog following obediently behind his master.
Once they were safely alone in Vader's quarters Sirius changed back into his human form while Vader took Mara's light saber from her.
"I assume you can unstun her" Vader said
"Yeah…enervate" Sirius responded
Mara immediately came to and realized she was caught
"What are you doing here, Mara?" Vader demanded
"You know this girl?" Sirius asked
"Yes, she is one of the emperor's hands…most likely she was sent to spy on me." Vader replied
"Wow that is just messed up." Sirius said
"Ridiculous, NOTHING the emperor does is EVER wrong and certainly not 'messed up' to suggest otherwise is treasonous." Mara declared
"Are you for real, lady?" Sirius asked
Mara bristled but before she could reply Vader said "So, little spy. What have you learned?"
Contrary to popular belief he was not a maniac, he didn't kill people just because he felt like killing them, he killed when it was necessary, he was trying to ascertain whether killing Mara was necessary or not
Mara sighed, she knew there was no point in lying but she hadn't managed to learn very much…maybe that would save her life. She'd noticed that Vader tended to punish people most often by killing them but Palpatine was more likely to punish people more often by torturing them so she wasn't afraid of her master deciding to kill her, she was afraid of Vader deciding to kill her.
"Not much, I know that you've been keeping this guy hidden here in your quarters and that he seems to be able to use his wooden stick to do strange things…almost like he's a wizard or something." The unspoken but that's ridiculous shouted silently shouted itself
"Anything else?" Vader pressed
Mara shook her head no and Vader sensed no deception from her
"So, I'll just modify your memory and send you on your way." Sirius said and raised his wand to do just that
"A mere memory block will not likely be enough" Vader said "they can be broken by skilled force users, YOU should know that."
"I doubt that a memory modification is the same thing as a memory block, besides what else can we do? We can't kill her, she's just a kid!"
"I'm 15 years old!" Mara replied indignantly "I'm not a child!"
Both men ignored her
Vader looked at Sirius a moment and said "Fine, we will see."
Sirius moved out of Mara's line of sight and said "Obilivate." Then quickly changed back into his canine form
"Lord Vader…what am I doing here?" Mara said confused
"You were on your way back to Coruscant when you stopped aboard my ship because your vessel was in need of repairs. Unfortunately your ship proved to be too badly damaged to be worth fixing." Vader lied without missing a beat "However, I am willing to lend you a craft to get you back in time for you to make your report to the emperor."
Mara couldn't remember what report she was supposed to be make but she wasn't about to tell Vader that
While Vader had been speaking he had also been subtly probing Mara's mind trying to find Sirius' memory modification as he called it. It was well done, Vader might not have noticed it if he had not been looking for it, though to be fair, Sidious was more skilled in the mind arts than he was. It was somewhat similar to a memory block and yet at the same time was dissimilar enough for him to know that the techniques he employed for breaking mind blocks would likely not work on this one…this might be safe after all.
"Sirius will escort you to the hanger bay."
The dog looked at him then suddenly a picture of a small space ship entered Sirius' mind "that's the one I want you to have her take." Vader explained
Sirius let out an affirmative bark and then headed to the door
Mara hesitated briefly and then followed Sirius. Mara pressed the button to open the door and then followed Vader's strangely intelligent dog to the hanger bay
Once they arrived there Sirius pointed at the ship that Vader had shown him. Mara understood the message and took that ship back to Corusant.